Jan Cox Talk 0298

Two Brains


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Summary = See Below
Diagrams = See Below #134
Transcript = See Below

 Diagram #134 illustration

Diagram #134 illustration


#298 Nov 26, 1987 – 1:47
Notes by TK

Man is divided into first, second and third order sentient systems. First and second order systems are comparable to brains. Third order is unique to man and is comprised by “imagination”. A “blue system” (not a brain) is a network joining the two brains. The Yellow Brain (YB) invented speech–but the Red Brain (RB) uses it also; there are two kinds of speech/education: information and feeling. The first order (RB) uses words to convey instinctive info; thus it uses words in a secondary way.

If man was a YB creature exclusively he could not be insulted. Example of the first order factory operating on kerosene energy whereas second order operates on electrical energy. The RB eats for survival; the YB eats for pleasure; for new stimuli, refinement of sensory info. RB interpretation of incoming sensory info seeks predictability and calm; it conserves. The YB interpretation attempts to expand beyond itself; seeks excitement. The second order has apparently usurped the first order–except where it will not give up: its vested interests (any other areas are to it irrelevant). The RB has a vested interest in some areas but has not full control anymore, while the YB hasn’t full control either: such status is the lot of the “emotional” person.

The asymmetry of human consciousness is the breath of Life. (“Hey, don’t push me…I might get on balance!”–symmetrical). Consider here the connection to the “E/C gate”: conflict between YB and RB.

The Revolution is not only about getting out of the City, or else the City limits have merely been extended. The YB is constantly filling in the blanks in your experience. Revolutionary consciousness (3rd order) fills in blanks nobody else even sees; blanks nobody thinks exist.

Things seemingly promising to be non-pleasurable to the RB, when done anyway, turn out to be not so (e.g., exercise, tobacco, alcohol) and vice versa–giving same up turns out to be non-pleasurable. Such is always open to and appropriate for 3rd order investigation.

1:43 Epilogue



Copyright (c) Jan M. Cox, 1987
Document:  298, November 26, 1987

I’m going to update one of the maps.  You could look at man as having first, second, and third order systems, as opposed to animals which seem to have only one.  In a sense, the third order system in man is not yet complete, not yet a reality.  Tonight I will initially address what appear to be the first and second order systems.

Both orders can process and interpret the stimuli and information coming into man through the five senses.  Their functioning overlaps, but each order could be looked at as literally having its own brain.  The first order system operates as though it is being directed by what could be called the “red” brain.  It is as though this red brain directs and interprets everything within the area below and up to the Line.  At the Line is the second order, “yellow” brain.  What would be the third order brain, right now, is man’s imagination, his dreams of enlightenment and higher states of awareness.  If such a third order were developed in man, it would be located higher on this diagram.  Notice there is no “blue” brain as such.  There is a blue system or network, encompassing the red and yellow brains, .paconnecting them through inner talk, but I am not going into that now.

The two brains — first and second order, or red and yellow — have some very interesting aspects which I am going to describe.  Keep in mind as I expand this map that I am still talking about contrast.

These two brains are operating simultaneously, but they are of different ages.  You may recall my earlier description of man as a factory, with workers down in the mines, an advertising department, and finally, a managerial level where research and development takes place.  It is fallacious to, from the everyday, three-dimensional, city view, decide that one of these levels in man-the-factory is superior or better.  Likewise, neither of the two brains is superior.  It’s a waste of time to think like that.  Simply consider that every person who meets the minimum criteria for being civilized and able to function in the city has these two systems in operation.

There are two kinds of speech going on between humans — the conveyance of information and the conveyance of feeling.  The yellow brain invented speech, but the red brain uses it also.  This is not clear cut, but consider that without the yellow brain, there would be no speech or abstract memory.  Yet, as soon as the yellow brain developed speech, the red brain began to use it.

There are also two kinds of education:  that apparently based upon facts, and that apparently based upon social behavior.  These reflect the yellow and red brains.  In humans, the first order system hears and uses words on the basis of instinctive behavior.  The actual conveyance of information — “facts” — is, to say the least, secondary.  When you’re walking down the street and someone drives by in a truck and yells, “Hey, fatso!” it is the red brain that immediately reacts.

If the yellow brain only were in operation, instead of immediately reacting, you might calmly think, “I wonder why they said that to me?  They must have mistaken me for someone else.”  Of course, I’m describing the proverbial intellectual person, and there are people who are wired up to be run predominately by one brain or the other.  If the systems could be divided so cleanly, and the proverbial truck driver backed up and asked this predominately yellow-brain person, “Didn’t you hear me yell at you?  Aren’t you mad?”  The person might say, “Sir, let’s discuss this.  You must think I’m someone else.”  The yellow brain certainly has theoretical knowledge that the truck driver is attempting to convey something more than verbal information.  “Hey fatso!” is not information to the yellow brain, but it holds a world of red brain information.

The judicial system of man is partially run by the yellow brain and partially by the red.  Judges must daily decide whether the fact of one person yelling, “Fuck you,” at another is grounds for physical assault by the second party.  Only a yellow-brained judge would sit around and argue, “Well, in civilized circles, that term is just this side of physical assault and conveys the harshest of feelings.  On the other hand, it makes no sense to say, ‘sexual intercourse you.’  How can someone get mad at that?”  .paWhat we are talking about is the continual, internal conflict between two systems.

If the yellow brain had not developed on top of the red, there would be no question among homo sapiens of verbal battery, because they wouldn’t be talking.  But since speech was developed, the red brain has used it in a very crude and direct manner.  The red brain transfers and receives immediate information through words, but what it conveys could not be called factual.  At the same time, the yellow brain deals in facts.  If man had suddenly sprung up as a yellow-brained creature, he could not be offended or insulted.  The closest thing to an insult to the yellow system would be if someone gave a man false information and he found out about it.

These two systems are operating simultaneously in every person.  The red brain is older, horizontally speaking; it is like the bottom level of the factory.  When the factory was built and foundations were dug, the only type of light available was kerosene lanterns, let’s say.  So they used lanterns in the mines.  Later on, the upper stories were built, utilizing advanced technology.  On the upper floors, the workers have overhead lights, computers, and exotic hardware that runs on electricity.  But electrical wiring has never been run down into the mines.  The workers down there generate the power that’s converted into electricity — but they still use kerosine lanterns — they have not switched over to the new energy source.  From one view, it is more efficient for the lower stories to go on operating the way they always have.

Think about it.  The basic requirements for operation in the mines are simple but essential.  Somebody has to open the doors, stoke the furnaces, clean the place.  You may think, “They should switch over to electricity,” but if the entire system is already set up and running like clockwork on a crude cheap energy supply, from one view, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

So the two systems operate simultaneously and are worlds apart, because they’re running on different levels of energy.  My example of electricity as compared to kerosene is not exaggerated.  If it would not strain credibility, I’d say upstairs they’re utilizing atomic energy.  And downstairs — well, you can’t run computers on kerosene.  If someone from management wanders down into the mines, they may think, “What a shame.  It stinks down here and the working environment is not acceptable.”  Yet, it is more efficient to leave the mines running exactly as they do.

Pretend for a moment that you could divide humanity into red-brained and yellow-brained people.  A yellow-brained person finds words that do not convey factual information to be impertinent, or even dangerous, while the red-brained person finds all talk about factual stuff to be irrelevant.  That is the kind of contrast that is needed.  Picture a physicist walking into a red-neck bar.  What kinds of conversations could he carry on?  Forget about the possibility of fist fights and brawls; just imagine the conversations that go on in that bar.  A couple of bricklayers are sitting around having a beer, watching sports on TV.  The physicist sits down and tries to make an intelligent comment about the game.  Or during the commercial he says, “Did you hear about that new theory of athletic performance ratios that came out of MIT last week?”  The bricklayers find his talk silly and irrelevant; at best they’ll probably say to him, “Why don’t you shut up and go someplace else?”

This type of exchange is constantly lampooned and satirized in movies and literature.  It’s a cheap easy way to get a laugh, because it’s a correct reflection of what goes on all the time in ordinary consciousness.  Remember, what seems to be going on “out there” is also going on “in here.”

When these two types of people use words, they might as well be speaking two different languages.  Carry this further, into the realm of the senses, and you’ll see a similar situation.  Take the sense of taste; a red-brained person would eat what’s necessary to sustain life.  You won’t find such a person being a gourmet.  But when you get into the realm of the yellow brain, you will find tastes developing which are not necessary for survival.  A yellow-brained person still must eat; the organism still must feed itself, and the yellow brain knows that.  When it’s in a hurry, it goes in and opens a can, or drives up to the fast-food window and says, “Uh, give me one of those.”  But for the yellow brain, eating can become a pleasure, an adventure.  Such a person will try exotic foods, new ways of cooking, and they will talk about food.  They’ll write recipes; they’ll save their money to travel thousands of miles and sample foreign cuisine.  Imagine a red-brained person — imagine the red brain in you — hearing about this type of behavior.  I mean, you’re standing around having a beer and a hamburger.  What can you say about somebody who’d spend $l0,000 on an overnight trip just to go into a dark restaurant and be served a little teeny piece of burned fish?  Not even all the catfish you can eat — just one little burned piece!  How could anybody be so dumb!

There is more in this description than humor.  You should be able to take this mapping, refine it, and run off into new territory.  Taste is a very good example, because most of you have experienced both sides of this.  Humans can live on the bare minimum input from one of the senses — what the red circuit requires to function — or they can refine that input to the point where it becomes a hobby.  The human experience runs all the way from, “Hey, if you’re through with that sandwich, give me half,” to, “I like this taste of this, but I can’t stand the taste of that.”

Consider another good example:  the red brain has almost no interest in what is called “the arts.”  That’s no secret.  But in the city, this is blamed on a lack of education.  “If we could just educate these people, they’d be more inclined to vote for bonds to build a new art gallery, a new museum.”  That’s easy for the yellow-brain to say.  But picture again the proverbial red-brained guy standing around with a beer.  The red brain hears the city just spent $83,000,000 on the John Bladder Memorial Museum of Art and Symphony Hall.  It knows it makes $250 a week.  What is it going to say?

A yellow-brained man says, “You know sometimes, after a gourmet meal, when the light hits that Monet just right, or I’m listening to certain passages in Bach, it brings tears to my eyes .paand I feel uplifted.  If bricklayers laugh at that, well, what do they appreciate?  What kind of music do they like?”

To make a quick comparison, what kind of music does the red brain like?  Music, of all the arts, does have the most immediate appeal to the red system.  So what is that appeal?  First, the appeal lies in rhythm, which apparently directly stimulates animal instinct.  Next, the appeal is in words which touch what city people would call the emotions.  Country and Western music is a great example of this type.  The red brain can hear a sad country song and say, “If you got to sing, that’s my kind of words.”  Because such music describes the life of the guts, of the private parts.  When it talks about a head, it’s a head with a hangover.  The words tell of being misused, neglected; of being hurt, hungry, and horny.  If the red system’s going to deal with words, they have to be on that level; they must stimulate the older, instinctive reactions of the system.  Notice that to compare the two brains in the area of arts, you must find examples in music or visual arts, because a red-brained person does not read much at all — TV Guide, a menu, or the back of a beer can is about as far as the red brain will go.

Once you have seen the two systems in operation you understand that this beautiful contrast — this apparent conflict — cannot be resolved.  It goes on continually in you, and will never be altered, as the yellow brain believes, by more education.  But the yellow brain continues to hope that somehow this beautiful asymmetry will be straightened out.  It just always seems, from one brain to the other, that one of them is slightly out of step.  The yellow brain, especially, feels this and thinks that the red brain is somehow, inexplicably, lagging behind and must be taught to catch up.

You could correctly look at the red brain as being older.  What you have, besides just two interpretations of sensory data coming into the nervous system, are two modes of operation which conflict.  But neither mode is subject to change in the ordinary world; for the red brain to attempt to update its methods of operation would be foolish and inefficient.  So you have a basic conflict between a first order system that, by and large, is desiring of survival and calm predictability, and a second order system attempting to expand.  The red system takes in and processes data in a predictable way; the yellow brain takes that same information and tries to build on it.  To use an historical example, the red brain, for who knows how many days, months, and years, shivered and suffered from cold.  Finally, it figured out that if you crawled in a hole somewhere, or if you found a dead animal and wrapped the skin around you, you wouldn’t be as cold.  The yellow brain took the same information about temperature and developed clothing, the heat pump, the air conditioner.  Faced with cold, the yellow brain says, “Wait a minute, give me a pencil,” and the first thing you know, it’s designed a floor furnace.

What appears to be internal conflict — what I have called the necessary contrast within an individual — can be seen as a natural outgrowth of the first and second order systems having, almost literally, their own brains.  There is a conflict going on between the old established order and the new developing system — in a sense, the usurper.  If certain areas of your brain were injured, you’d fall back into the care of the red brain.  That first order system could keep you alive, but you would no longer be a civilized human.  From the 3-D viewpoint, the yellow brain has usurped power from the red, and in areas where the red brain cares, the battle still rages.

This is not science fiction or theory; the battle goes on in you.  The Yellow Circuit talks about this; you can see this reflected in areas where you believe you are too “emotional.”  I can describe what these areas are:  they are places wherein the red brain still has an interest in what’s going on.  The red brain cares, but it’s no longer fully in control; the yellow brain struggles to maintain its tenuous control.  That situation is what ordinarily passes for “being emotional.”

What are called “problems” are not really problems.  A “problem” is the inability to decide what to do in a given situation:  “I have a problem.  Should I tell my family I can’t stand them anymore and leave, or should I stay and put up with them.”  Your family is not the problem.  The problem is that you can’t decide to do one or the other.  You can’t decide to move, and the real problem is your inability to satisfactorily act.  What passes for emotional problems are places wherein the red brain still has a vested interest, but no longer has complete control.  I’m not talking about anything you learned, or picked up socially or culturally.  I’m talking about a first order system which is still alive in you but no longer in charge.  The yellow brain now has the ability to exercise control over the organism to a point that disturbs the red brain.

This happens even in the most apparently Red Circuit people.  A bricklayer is standing there — a stranger walks up to the bar and bumps against him.  He looks at the guy and nonverbally conveys the message, “Don’t do that!”  Even after one or two beers, this bricklayer doesn’t react the way his red brain wants to react — and it bothers him.  He might even tell his wife later, “There was this smart-ass that kept crowding me at the bar.” “You didn’t hit him?”  “No, but I should have busted the s.o.b. in the mouth, teach him a thing or two.”  Do you hear what he’s saying?  The red brain is saying, “Power has been taken away from me.”  Because the red brain knew exactly how to handle that situation.  The red brain knows, when you get pushed, you push back.  It’s the yellow brain that worries, “I don’t want to end up in jail again for fighting.”

All of this translates into what people call psychological problems, tension, guilt.  They are unknowingly describing areas wherein the red brain still has instinctive, necessary, and proper reactions which were established and built into the system long before the yellow brain took over.  Even now, the yellow brain cannot be a full-fledged tyrant or an efficient dictator, because it can’t stop the chemical uprisings going on below.  So it continually feels, “I’m not in control completely.”  This battle is as basic as the old struggle between the gods and the anti-gods.

Neither system can understand that there is a 4-dimensional time frame.  They do not see that they can’t live without each other, that man’s development has not been lineal.  If the red brain could talk, it would say, “Hey, up to a certain point, my life wasn’t so bad.  Some kid stole my bike, I smashed his.”  Then what happened?  “My mother, the teacher at school, the minister, everybody was all over my case, telling me what to do.  Well, I hope they’re all happy now.  I’m civilized, I’ve got ulcers, I drink too much, and people are always pushing me around.  But I sit on my temper now.”

Besides feeling a great internal division, humanity has a general sense that there must have been some unknown human error.  This is reflected in the classic Christian story of Adam and Eve offending god and being thrown out of Eden.  People in every culture feel that there must have been some fall from grace, to use spiritual terms.  A more up to date, psychological approach would be to blame society or the environment.  A scientific approach would be that something in man’s biological, evolutionary development has gone awry.  However they describe it, all people feel that something is wrong.  I don’t want to sound discouraging, but I’m probably the only person in the world who’s not discouraged.

There is a beautiful asymmetry built into man.  There is beautiful conflict, contrast — otherwise known as fertilizer, growth food for Life.  Everyone always must feel this asymmetry.  Everyone must feel in conflict, like they are being pushed.  I’m reminded of the way a certain artist once captioned his painting:  “Hey man, don’t push me…I might get ON balance.”  Ordinary people in the city blame their feeling of being off balance on overpopulation, other people, or a lack of education.  “If I weren’t under so much pressure all the time, I could pull myself together and get balanced.”  If a real balance could be struck — if the internal conflict ever really ended — what would result would be death.  The literal breath of Life would be gone.  That’s why I say there is a beautiful, necessary, asymmetry to human consciousness.  The real danger is that “I might get ON balance.”  But humanity’s misaligned dream of paradise is the merging of their two brains.  They believe that heaven would be a place of no conflict:  no conflict between illness and health, between rich and poor, between men and women, between races of people.  Humanity believes that a state of no contrast would be the imagined third order.

What I have been calling a conflict between the first and second order systems in man could also be described as a struggle between the need to be excited and the need to be calmed.  The E/C (Exciting/Calming) Gate that I once mapped for you is in real physical operation within humans, and could be viewed as the gate between the red and yellow brains.

I want to go over a few things related to what I’ve been talking about for the last two weeks.  Let me point out to you that what’s involved in a real revolution is not just getting out of the city.  Just leaving the city is not the end in itself of a revolution.  If that’s all you do, here’s what will happen:  you will find yourself settling back down; still confined, but with new limits.  Your boundaries may be wider than the original city limits, but they’re still limits.  A real revolutionist cannot escape from one set of limits simply to settle down inside another set.  That’s why you can’t graduate from This Thing.  If that made any sense, you could just get on balance and everything would make sense.  You’d be dead, of course, but that would be a small price to pay…

Under ordinary conditions, the Yellow Circuit — what I called tonight the yellow brain — continually fills in the blank spaces in your actual knowledge and experience.  This happens all the time and normally goes unanalyzed.  Say you’re out jogging and you run past “Tompkins Warehouse.”  You continue to run, and your circuitry starts to picture, “What goes on in a warehouse.”  You see little flashes of people on the assembly line, boxes and trucks waiting to carry out the boxes.  And you have never personally been inside a warehouse.  You may have picked up your impression on warehouses from books or television, and from one view, what does it matter where you got the picture?  But Consider that things continue to run smoothly in the city much of the time because the Yellow Circuit continues to fill in these blanks.  You could look upon revolutionary consciousness — upon what would be the third order use of stimulation available to man — as continually filling in the blanks that no one else sees.  I don’t mean mystical blanks.  I’m talking about areas wherein the rest of humanity is satisfied that, “This has been answered.  I understand this completely.”  Revolutionary consciousness would fill in blanks that first and second order consciousness does not recognize as blanks; that the first and second order “understands” areas that aren’t blank, from an ordinary viewpoint.

At first and second order level, the information you receive is quite adequate, the proof being that ordinary consciousness accepts it as truth.  “Well, this is the answer to that question about life in the city, the truth about me and everybody else.”  At that level, you have no choice — it is true.  Then suddenly, revolutionary consciousness begins to fill in spaces that no one, including you, knew were blank.  Everyone else, including you, was already sure of the answer.  But nothing is more fun than starting to fill in those apparently nonexistent kind of blanks.

Let me mention something else that merits third order investigation.  Consider that in the city the idea of things that are pleasurable are not so; that is, not so pleasurable.  I am referring to activities that at first blush appear to one of the brains as non-pleasurable.  Ask the red brain, “Do you think we should take up running two miles a day?  Or maybe go on a fast?”  All of you know that the red brain’s response would be less than enthusiastic.  But you also know that you can undertake something which by all appearances — by every rule of reason and expectation in the city — is going to be less than pleasurable and find it pleasurable.  And vice versa.  I can think of some real vice versa, if you’ve got a minute.  Remember your first taste of alcohol or cigarettes?  You probably thought, “Who in the world would do this?”  And yet, two days or two years later, you were enjoying the habit.  What started out apparently to be unpleasant now seems enjoyable.  Stretch this further.  Years after taking up smoking, an ordinary person decides, “Hey, to stop this habit would give me pleasure.”  And what happens?  Something started off unpleasant, became a pleasurable habit and then a distasteful one.  I’m not describing some stupidity or psychological flaw in people; there’s much more to this than that.  I have purposely used crude examples so they would be easy to see.  Just notice that your system can hear about a certain activity, a certain undertaking, and there can be no question to you that such will be unpleasant — but once you start, the activity seems to produce positive energy.  Conversely, you can anticipate an activity with pleasure and have it turn out to be something else entirely.  You have had this happen to you many times, and have never subjected the phenomenon to third order investigation, but it’s worthy of Consideration.

I am going to wrap this up.  Remember that I have still been talking about contrast.  And also remember that, contrary to city views, there is no conflict “out there” that is not within the confines of your own city limits.  Remember that you have available to you the same information, the same stimuli, which is available to everybody on this planet.  And the conflict, the contrast, can be understood, though not by any one system:  not by the red brain or by the yellow brain; not by your conscious mind, if you had one.  This conflict, this basis of the beautiful, necessary asymmetry of human consciousness is, in fact, no conflict at all.